Monday, May 13, 2013

Leading a double life

Sometimes I get weary of the double life I lead. There is the real me, who goes to work every day to earn the money that supports my family. I have a job with 12 people reporting to me and those people are counting on me to be there and help them. I have friends at work with whom I go for coffee and lunch — but I’m living a lie. Because all those people at work have no idea that I live a double life.

They have no idea that when I go home I spend evenings and weekends at the computer, writing stories, conducting all the “business” of writing, chatting to on-line friends. I’m sure they think I must be the most boring person in the world when they ask how my weekend was and I say, “It was okay”, because I can’t tell them I finished another manuscript or I heard back from my editor, or I had the most hilarious conversation with my blog partners.

I decided it was best to keep the two lives separate, for a variety of reasons. I enjoy my job (especially the seven weeks of paid vacation and every other Friday off, LOL!) and I try to do a good job. But sometimes it’s hard not to drift off into daydreams of story ideas while sitting in endless meetings. Sometimes it’s hard to resist peeking at my BlackBerry during the work day. Sometimes it’s hard not to be able to share my good news (I sold another book! I got a great review! I got an amazing royalty cheque this month!) with coworkers.

So far I have managed to keep the two lives mostly separate, but a while back someone told me that there are people at work who know about my writing. I don’t know how they knew, but the person who told me admitted that he’d Googled me to find out more. I told him I figured nobody would know my pen name so even if people found out, they wouldn’t be able to easily find out much more than that, but apparently I was wrong. At that point I decided I should tell my boss, just so it wasn’t a surprise to her if it got to be common knowledge

But weirdly, nothing more was ever said. Nobody has ever said another word to me and I have no idea if the whole company knows and just doesn’t want to say anything, or only a few people know and kept it to themselves.

Coming back from the RT Booklovers Convention reminded me again how hard this is. The convention was great – it’s awesome to see my NNN blog mates and friends, to renew friendships with other authors, to meet new people, both authors and readers, agents and editors. I felt like a rock star after the book signing! Then I had to come home and go to work and deal with the mundane business stuff I deal with all the time and not tell anyone how amazing the convention was.

Maybe some day someone will say something. Or some day maybe I’ll have to “come out of the closet” if I want to promote a book. I both want that to happen and am terrified of it. It would make life simpler in some ways, but perhaps more complicated in others. It would allow me to share all the ups and downs of my writing but would attract attention that I’m not always comfortable with.

So for now I will continue to lead the lives of two people, even though in my heart I’m really just one.


Meg Benjamin said...

Back when I was working (before I retired), I used to be paranoid about other faculty members finding out about my writing--particularly since I was supposed to be doing research. But I came to find out that nobody cared. And most were both amused and very supportive. Maybe you could "come out" to a select few and see what happens.

Skylar Kade said...

Kelly, I had that same problem with my last few jobs. My current company has a pretty liberal office culture, and I've told a few co-workers who are fascinated by the whole thing.

However, it took months of "testing the waters" before I was ready to do that.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Meg and Sky, you're both probably right that it's bigger deal to me than it would be to them. :-)

Kim B said...

It all depends on the job, I think.